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Mental illnesses are real illnesses.  Mood disorders, such as major depression, and bipolar disorder; anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder; trauma and stressor-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorders; thought disorders, like schizophrenia; personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder; and addiction issues, such as alcoholism and drug addiction — all of these illnesses are as real and devastating as any other life-changing diagnosis, like cancer or multiple sclerosis.  But on top of dealing with the symptoms of one’s mental illness, or that of a loved one, one is also faced with the isolation brought on by stigma and shame.

We, at Rodef Shalom  — and increasingly across the Denver and wider Jewish community —believe that there is no shame, no stigma attached to having a mental illness or suffering from an addictive disorder.  In our community. we understand that mental illness is illness, and we are here to help, i.e., with food, household tasks like laundry, and a listening ear.  Our rabbi, Rabbi Kobrin, is just a phone call or text away (512-739-7471), and our chesed committee would be happy to help  Please let the Rabbi or office know, as well, if you would like to be included in our Misheberach (prayers for healing) from the bima (or you or a loved one may add your name from the congregation); our liturgy prays for healing of both soul and body, for the refu’ah shleimah, complete healing, that you deserve.  

Families and individuals dealing with mental illness and/or addiction issues may need help, however, beyond what the synagogue alone can provide.  That is what this resource guide is for.  It offers information about organizations that serve the mentally ill and their families, whether by offering emergency help or longer-term resources, such as counseling or support services.  While no list of agencies can cure a person’s pain, we hope this handbook will be helpful in finding the aid that you and your loved one might need in this time of illness and distress.

Our thanks to HEA for editing this guide, putting it online, and for allowing Rodef Shalom, our members, and others to have access to it.  Our gratitude as well to Temple Emanuel for its original work in researching and putting these resources together.  We hope that the Denver Jewish community, working together, can help to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness, and connect those who need help with the resources around us.  

WISE Brit/Covenant

Tue, May 24 2022 23 Iyyar 5782